I am in the process of doing my due diligence by going through the thousands of negatives and slides that I shot from the time I began my journey as a photographer through present day. It's a lot of time consuming work but also very rewarding when a gem pops up from my scanner.
The above photograph is the first of some 24 or so photographs that I took at an opening of a Richard Avedon exhibit in Pasadena, California in the later 70's. I loved Avedon's work and went to great lengths to score an invite to this private event. While I was not hired to photograph the event, I definitely took my camera and snapped a few shots of the people there to see the exhibit and be seen at the exhibit. I only remembered a few of the photos as I had made a prints of them. The rest of the photographs remained in the negative sleeves until a couple of days ago.
When I began scanning the negatives, I was surprised to see the usable (good-to-great shots) to crap (one's that suck) ratio of shots on this particular roll. In addition to the parking lot shot above, which I love even though it may have been a hip-shot while advancing the roll of film in my camera, I found 20 that are "usable" and another couple that were variations on a same shot. There were only 2 photographs that I would file under "crap". On second thought, I think the car shot was intentional, based on the first car being in focus.
While that's probably one of my better ratios, it's also the way I taught myself to shoot. Not so much because I wanted to be a good photographer...more because I couldn't afford (monetarily) to blow multiple rolls of film and developing. So, I always did my best to make every photograph count. I always tried to capture the "moment" the first time.
In today's digital world, most aspiring photographers, and many professionals, will blast of hundreds and thousands of shots on one shoot. I've done it myself at a concert or two. The result for me wasn't better pictures. It was the time suck of the editing. Back and forth between shots, this one or that one?
My tip today is for all photographers to stop the madness!
Try using your digital camera like you only have 24 frames, or 36 maximum. Turn off the screen and look through the eyepiece, where your frame is all you see. Choose what you want to shoot and wait for the moment. DO NOT rapid-fire 10 shots hoping to get the moment. If you do that the Photography Gods will give you all the moments between the real ones that you wanted to capture.
And if you really want to grow as a photographer, don't look at any of the 24 or 36 frames you shoot until they are transferred into your computer. If you practice this way, I guarantee you will 'develop' into a much better photographer. And as a bonus, you will save a ton of time in the editing process... giving you more time to shoot.